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9 tips for contract work

9 tips for working on contract

October 7, 2022

Making the transition to the project economy

From SeasonedPros.ca Content Lab

In a dynamic job market, many workers are leaving full-time jobs and going independent.

They are saying goodbye to the nine-to-five corporate world and taking skills built up over their careers to the open job market which is hungry for talent.

Many contractors are leaders and subject matter experts in areas such as corporate strategy, project management, HR, marketing, finance and accounting, and entrepreneurship.

There are many advantages to contract work. It is attractive because it offers the freedom to work when and how much they want. 

Working remotely and work-life balance are major drivers of this trend. In some cases, the income is higher. 

There is also variety and exposure to new ideas and learning opportunities.

Before leaving the permanent job market, a worker should be prepared to make the transition to project work.

Here are 9 tips for contract workers:

  1. Plan ahead for next jobs – The contractor often works project-by-project. When the project is finished, the job is over. But there are plenty of other contract opportunities available. Planning ahead for the next job is key
  2. Benefits are self funded – Organizations that hire interim workers are not required to pay for medical insurance, sick time or vacation time. These costs are borne by the contractor.
  3. Be job ready and resilient  – The contract worker will be expected to hit the ground running with less onboarding and training than permanent employees.
  4. Beware of project creep – Be clear on the scope of work, deliverables and outcomes of the contract. Negotiate rates based on years of experience and expertise. Put the time and terms in writing and keep track of your working time.
  5. Take advantage of tax benefits and deductions – Independent workers can write off certain expenses like travel and home office expenses like phone, internet and business use of home. 
  6. Set up HST/GST accounting – In Canada, the independent contractor is responsible for collecting taxes and making payments to Canadian Revenue Service.
  7. Invoice on time – Payment for your work doesn’t just land in your bank account every two weeks. Consider using software that offers invoicing templates that enable tracking of payment. This saves time.
  8. Sign up with specialized recruiters  – Many recruitment firms specialize in placing contract and interim workers. They have established relationships with employers who are looking for project workers. They put the leg work into finding new opportunities for contract workers.
  9. Manage multiple contracts at once – This takes focus and time management, especially when deadlines are looming. Anticipate deadlines well in advance and plan deliverables carefully. 

The freedoms and flexibility of contract work are rewarding but this work requires a different mindset and work habits. Make sure you understand the realities and adjustments necessary for a successful career in independent work.

SeasonedPros.ca is an on-demand executive recruiter. Clients with an immediate need for experienced talent trust us to source professionals for project, interim and part-time roles. Each professional in our national database has 20 + years of business experience. We provide our clients two-four vetted professionals in 10 business days or less

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